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Max Verstappen overcomes engine failure to lead Austrian Grand Prix first practice

Max Verstappen overcame an engine failure to put his Red Bull at the top of the time charts in practice for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Prior to qualifying at the Red Bull Ring later on Friday, Verstappen finished 0.276 seconds clear of McLaren‘s Oscar Piastri with Charles Leclerc third for Ferrari.

Lando Norris set the quickest opening sector before running through the gravel to scupper his sole hot lap.

Lewis Hamilton, who did not set a time on the speediest soft tyres, finished fifth, half-a-second back, with Mercedes team-mate George Russell, who aborted his best lap on the quickest rubber, eighth.

Verstappen, who has won seven of the 10 rounds so far, suffered a brief setback when he broke down with an apparent engine failure midway through the one-hour session.

The Dutch driver was forced to park up on the main straight as the session was red-flagged.

Verstappen‘s mechanics quickly wheeled their driver back to the garage, and a quick fix allowed him to return to the track as soon as the running re-started.

Verstappen had been only third behind Hamilton and Russell, but a switch to the soft rubber elevated him to the top of the standings, and he appears the man to beat heading into qualifying at 16:30 local time (15:30 BST).

Norris occupies second in the championship standings, and McLaren are expected to go well here at a venue where the British driver has excelled in the past.

Norris was nearly a tenth up on Verstappen only to run wide at the fourth corner, forcing him to settle for 13th.

Times

1 Max VERSTAPPEN 1:05.685
2 Oscar PIASTRI +0.276
3 Charles LECLERC +0.370
4 Carlos SAINZ +0.443
5 Lewis HAMILTON +0.569
6 Esteban OCON +0.612
7 Lance STROLL +0.699
8 George RUSSELL +0.701
9 Yuki TSUNODA +0.894
10 Fernando ALONSO +0.918
11 Pierre GASLY +1.049
12 Sergio PEREZ +1.098
13 Lando NORRIS +1.195
14 Guanyu ZHOU +1.234
15 Valtteri BOTTAS +1.240
16 Daniel RICCIARDO +1.277
17 Nico HULKENBERG +1.281
18 Alexander ALBON +1.310
19 Kevin MAGNUSSEN +1.460
20 Logan SARGEANT +1.574

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